(Courtesy of alltpop.com)
Was be-bopping around the house today tidying for the impending visit of my father-in-law and his terrific wife when the “Hallelujah Chorus” came on the radio and stopped me dead in my tracks. Reason for this is twofold:
1) I was a member of my high school chorus for three and a half years, and I don’t know how many times we performed that piece of music. Enough so that to this day I still can sing the alto version pretty darned well (and make a presentable stab at all the other parts, too).
But it’s the second reason that has the greater impact: That song never fails to remind me of Kathy Biedron.
Kathy sat beside me in chorus, a stroke of luck for me on many levels. Not only was she truly one of the world’s good people — a nice girl with a generous heart full of genuine kindness for everyone around her — but she also had perfect pitch (and I mean PERFECT) which kept me from going off on some weird vocal tangent.
Through our involvement in chorus and drama club, Kathy and I became friends. We weren’t what you’d call ‘real close’ (meaning we didn’t hang out together after school), but I considered her a friend and held her in high esteem. Never has there been a more giving individual, a more tireless worker, or a more enthusiastic cheerleader. She busted her hump on every endeavor she chose to put her hand and heart to.
Kathy was a year ahead of me in school, so when she graduated and went off to college, we sort of lost touch. I was friends with her younger brother Will (a year behind me in school as I had been a year behind her), and he kept me apprised of what Kathy was involved with in the wider world beyond the walls of Shenendehowa High. (I can’t vouch for my memory after so many years, but I think she was pursuing a degree in music. If not, I do know that music continued to be a driving force in her life.)
Then I graduated and, in the course of time, lost touch with those I had left behind. I heard through the grapevine that Kathy had married…and it was through that same grapevine that I learned of her death in a car wreck a couple of years ago.
Words fail. I can’t express how hard the news hit me. It was one of those moments — we all have them — when a wall of denial rises up inside you and you think “No, this just can’t be. If this is true, there is no sense in the world.”
Apparently, there is no sense in the world.
She comes to my mind now and then through the course of the year’s turning, but she’s always with me at Christmas. That’s fitting, I think. When I remember Kathy, it’s her smile I see first, followed immediately by the bright shine of her eyes. I hear her ready laughter and feel the touch of her enormous compassion. And I think that maybe, just maybe, I hear the rustle of an angel’s wings. Because I’ll tell you something: if anyone, anyone at all on this great green Earth of ours, deserved to earn her wings, it was Kathy.
God bless, old friend. You are not forgotten.